Last week I visited Gilberto Baraona, the proud owner and farmer of Los Pirineos, El Salvador. We have been buying coffees from Gilberto for some years now and we especially like his Bourbon Elite cultivar which is one of the original Bourbons in El Salvador that was used to develop new Bourbons like Tekisik. He also has a spectacular Orange Pacamara, but unfortunately this year most of those trees were stomped and therefore not available.
Some years ago, Gilberto inherited a cultivar collection from Procafe, the organisation that has developed several cultivars in El Salvador. They had done research on Gilberto’s farm on various cultivars and once they finished their tests, Gilberto took over the garden with about 10 trees of each cultivar. In total Gilberto now has about 80 cultivars growing on his farm but most of these in very small quantities only for testing.
This year he had harvested coffee from about 50-60 cultivars. Gilberto had invited Moises Herrera from the Caballero farms in Honduras and myself to taste all the samples in order to see what cultivars could be interesting for him to plant on his farm in the coming years.
We will of course cup these more than once before Gilberto decides on what to plant as there might be factors affecting the quality that we are not in control of. Also processing small quantities of coffee can be challenging and affect the flavour. Next year we are expecting to be tasting all 80 cultivars and there is a lot of good suff coming next year, like SL28, Geisha, etc. (but only for testing)
(Picture above: I am using the Catador app for scoring coffees. It is based on the SCAA cupping form.)
You can see my scores and comments from the tasting in the link below.
Please note that these cultivars might perform differently in another soil, climate and altitude and is not to be considered as a guide to what cultivars are good or not. These were only my observations from the cultivars grown at the Los Pirineos farm in El Salvador.